On June 15, 2017, John Harrity, Managing Partner and Diversity Partner of Harrity & Harrity, spoke on a diversity panel hosted by the Association of Legal Administrators. Mauricio Velasquez, of Diversity Training Group, began the program with a presentation on the importance of diversity and inclusion in the legal field, and lack thereof.
Kendal Tyre, Partner at Nixon Peabody, discussed diversity initiatives within his firm. At Nixon Peabody, associates, partners, and support staff, are expected to commit 40 hours annually to diversity initiatives. Diversity initiatives can include meeting with an affinity group, attending diversity seminars, and attending recruiting functions. These practices can improve firm morale and maintain a positive culture at the firm.
John Harrity’s presentation focused on internal diversity initiatives and the results that the firm has seen since their launch in 2015. Despite having a diverse support staff, it is difficult to recruit women and minority patent attorneys. To change this, Harrity & Harrity has taken the following steps to recruit women and minorities. The first step was initiating the Harrity Rule, which is a supersized version of the Rooney Rule. The Harrity Rule means that we are committed to interviewing a female or minority candidate for every male, non-minority candidate we interview for any position at our firm. The firm began hiring for reduced hours and remote work positions. The firm also started a 1L Diversity Fellowship in 2016 and launched the first Diversity Summer Workshop in 2017.
Since the launch of our diversity initiatives in 2015, Harrity & Harrity has hired seven new attorneys, four of whom are considered diverse by the EEOC Diversity Scorecard. Across the firm as a whole, there have been 18 new hires in the past two years, 12 of whom are considered diverse.
John Harrity says of the seminar, “This was a great opportunity to not only talk about our diversity initiatives, but to share ideas and learn new skills from other firms, as well. I strongly believe that cultivating a highly diverse firm is one of the keys to success, and I look forward to working towards this goal.”